Samantha
 

My fight with my mental health has been raw, real and exhausting. Up until about three years ago I can’t recall a time that I was happy with who I am. Whether it was my weight, my habits or just who I was in general I was never happy with myself. 

I feel like I have always struggled with anxiety, long before I knew what it was and long before it was the “cute” thing to have. I’ve never been good at making friends or social situations that a person without anxiety could easily handle so I always knew there had to be something deeper than just being socially awkward. 

 

When I was in middle school a friend of mine started an awful rumour about me that basically ruined my entire middle/high school existence. It followed me everywhere I turned and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t run from it and no one trusted my side of the story. All of this self hate and anxiety I had was unfortunately turned into hate for other humans. I was the teenager that hated her town and hated all of the people around her. In reality, I love this town and I love everyone in my life, I just hated myself.

 

Before coming out I tried so hard to date boys and to feel connected to them the way that my friends were with their boyfriends but it just wasn’t happening. I recall breaking up with a boyfriend and coming out and getting a girlfriend and though I received a lot of support the backlash I got was unreal. I was teased and mocked online and I was fighting my own battles in my head so it wasn’t a good mix. 

 

I turned to self harming during my darkest times and quickly became addicted to the release. It started out with just a few scratches on my wrists here and then soon became worse. My parents discovered my self harming in grade nine if I’m not mistaken and I remember the pain in their eyes. It hurts to even think about. I told them I’d stop and I tried so hard but it was near impossible.
 

I entered a really bad relationship that lasted from the tenth grade to the twelfth. It was nothing but screaming, controlling one another and a battle to see who could cheat on the other the most. Threw all of that together and called it love. At some point in the relationship my girlfriend at the time started dating another girl (yes, at the same time as me) and I truly feel as if this is when I hit my lowest and couldn’t pick myself back up. 

 

Though that relationship ended not long after her starting to date another girl, the self harming did not stop. It was becoming an everyday thing and I was doing anywhere that was easy to hide that my parents were not going to check. I knew at this point my parents had thought I was fine and not hurting anymore but I couldn’t bare the thought of telling them I wasn’t okay. Through 2012-2014 I was self harming daily, taking gravol to sleep 16 hours a day and barely giving my body enough to keep living. 

In 2013 I entered a long distance relationship and it was great. We were happy and in love and then one day in 2014 she just decided I wasn’t what she wanted and I had the rug ripped right out from under my feet. I felt betrayed and lied to and hurt and though this break up was the worst I had dealt with I believe this was my turning point. I knew my mental health was destroying everything good I had in my life and I knew that if I wasn’t getting better I was dying and if I was refusing to help myself no relationship in my life was going to work.

 

So I changed. I changed my mindset. I started writing and I started acknowledging my feelings and allowing myself to feel them and then I forgave myself. I stopped self harming and I started crawling, I crawled until I felt that I was strong enough to stand and walk. I woke up every single day and reminded myself what I had to be thankful for and reminded myself why I was still alive. Then I started running. I started advocating for the mental health community and I started to push myself to my limits and remember why I wanted to get better in the first place. I wanted to get better for me, for my parents, my family, my friends and for future non-platonic relationships. 

 

Fast forward three years and I am free. I am free from self harm for over three years and I am free from my demons. I now live a happy, healthy life. One that I never even imagined I could live. I thought that one day my demons would suffocate me and I would forever be surrendering myself to them. I now wear my scars like diamonds and rubies and I am in love and I have my own apartment and my own cats. I am so grateful for recovery and for my support system. These past seven years of my life have been anything but easy. But I’m here, I’m alive and I’m thriving. 

 

My mental health is a part of me but it does not define me and no one will ever be able to love me as much as I love myself today. 

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